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The London Concord Singers visit Barcelona, and
ROBERT HUGILL keeps a written record of the trip


This summer London Concord Singers under their musical director Malcolm Cottle, made a short tour to Barcelona. They took a programme of music by Morales, Vittoria, Mompou, Casals, Robert Parsons, Byrd, Britten and Ben Haim for performance at a concert in Santa Maria del Pi and at sung mass in the cathedral. My involvement was three-fold. I sang in the choir; I organised the trip for the choir and my motet Deus in Adjutorium was commissioned by the choir for performance in Barcelona Cathedral. Whilst on the trip, I kept a brief diary.

Monday 19 July

Following on from our London concert with the complete choir, we have the first of two rehearsals just with those travelling to Barcelona. Oddly enough we have a good complement of men but slightly fewer women coming; though we do have two ex-members coming with us. As the organiser for this tour, I brief the choir on the timetable. We have a concert on the Saturday evening in the Iglesia del Pi; it has been put back to 9pm because there is a wedding at 8pm which seems rather late by our standards. We are singing Mass at the Cathedral on the Sunday evening. This was originally at 6pm, subsequently it was moved to the 8pm Catalan service and we are now back at our 6pm slot. I have no idea of the relative importance of these services so do not know whether we should feel promoted or demoted. We have also been warned that no-one at the cathedral speaks English, which should be fun.

I've faxed the hotel with our rooming list, though this is still not final; one member is ill and may not come and there is no room for a supporter who would like to come. Ever since January, the exact make up of the choir has been subject to the vagaries of chance and time; causing me problems on the hotel front and Malcolm problems on the musical side. All we have to do now is locate a suitable restaurant for our Sunday evening meal; a job I plan to offload onto a Spanish speaking member of the choir.

The subject of dress rears its head; this always seems to be a hot topic in choirs. We agree a dress code which means that the choir will not be loaded down with luggage and that they can dress suitably for the hot weather (we hope). But we have to warn the women that they need something to cover their arms, just in case the churches are a little vigilant.

Monday 24 July

Final rehearsal in UK and final briefing for the choir. I provide them with their timetables, maps and information.

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Copyright © 6 August 2004 Robert Hugill, London UK


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